By Mary Mullen, MS, RD
Jo Ellen Shield, MED RD LD
Published May 02, 2017
The daily amount of water that a child needs depends on factors such as age, weight and gender. Air temperature, humidity, activity level and a person’s overall health affect daily water requirements, too. The chart below can help you identify about how many cups of water your child or teen needs each day. These recommendations are set for generally healthy kids living in temperate climates; therefore, they might not be perfect for your child or teen.
The amount of water that your child or teen needs each day might seem like a lot, but keep in mind that the recommendations in the chart are for total water, which includes water from all sources: drinking water, other beverages and food. Notice that fruits and vegetables have a much higher water content than other solid foods. This high water content helps keep the calorie level of fruits and vegetables low while their nutrient level remains high — another perfectly great reason for kids to eat more from these food groups.
So how do you apply total water recommendations to your kid’s day? As a rule of thumb, to get enough water, your child or teen should drink at least six to eight cups of water a day and eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Also, pay special attention to your child’s or teen’s water consumption when they are physically active. Before, during and after any physical activity, kids need to drink plenty of water, especially in hot weather. The goal is to drink a half cup to two cups of water every 15 to 20 minutes while exercising.
|Age Range||Gender||Total Water (Cups/Day)|
|4 to 8 years||Girls and Boys||5|
|9 to 13 years||Girls||7|
|14 to 18 years||Girls||8|
Data are from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Tables. Recommended Daily Allowance and Adequate Intake Values: Total Water and Macronutrients.
Reviewed April 2017Mary Mullen, MS, RD, is co-author of Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Jodie (Jo Ellen) Shield, MED, RD, LD, is co-author of Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.